Your One-Stop Resources Guide for the Latest on Coronavirus in Cincinnati

How long does the COVID-19 virus survive on surfaces? (Time Magazine)

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 17 found that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could last up to four hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard, and two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. Another study published in The Lancet on April 2 found the virus could last for three hours on printing and tissue paper, and up to one day on treated wood or cloth. It also found that the virus lasted three days on glass and banknotes and six days on stainless steel and plastic—far longer than the New England Journal of Medicine study found. Lastly, The Lancet study also found the virus remained on the outside of a surgical mask for seven days.

However, keep in mind these results were produced in a lab. The virus likely breaks down much more quickly in the environment due to its sensitivity to sunlight and temperature, says Dr. Albert Ko, department chair and professor of epidemiology and medicine at the Yale School of Public Health.

It’s also important to remember that scientists don’t know yet how much of the virus someone has to be exposed to in order to become infected, says Jared Evans, a senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. While a certain amount of infectious virus could be on a subway pole, it’s unclear if it would be enough to get a person sick.

Still, experts say wiping down objects as they enter your home, including delivery food containers, is a good way to mitigate risk of exposure.